Simply put, it is one sweet gem of an album.
The occasional lullabye may find its way onto children's albums, but this CD is in a different class altogether. Somewhere, you know that Linda Miller is singing before a microphone, but everything about the recording--from the discreet, delicate arrangements, to the warm intimacy of the vocals--evokes a mother singing to the infant cradled in her arms.
But infants shouldn't be the only ones to smile and coo, and eventually yield to "Dream Angus" while listening to this album. Had a rough day? See if you don`t feel more serene after listening to a verse or two.
Here, Linda Miller's vocals are matched with uniformly high-caliber musicians, including James Stephens (violin, viola, harmonium, mandolin, harmony vocals) and Nathan Curry (guitar, cittern, bodhran, finger cymbals, mandolin). And Nathan contributes lead vocals on `John of Dreams`. These are musicians who understand not only the beauty of the notes but also the importance of silences between them. Even though seven other musicians also contribute to this CD, the arrangements (by Linda, James, and the seven) use the instruments sparingly, varying the combinations from tune to tune: no overload. The vocals remain in the foreground, where they should be. The players never lose sight of the fact that these are lullabies, and everything is tailored to that context.
Hearts at Rest is a patchwork of songs and moods, by turns yearning, playful, and soothing, set in a land of fairies, angels, wee birds cold nights, and warm fires. Curl up and enjoy.
Hearts at Rest - Canal Records 1997.
Tracks: 1. Dance to your Daddy 2. Little Red Bird 3. Fais Dodo 4. Baloo Balerie 5. I`ve Found my Bonny Babe a Nest/My Simging Bird 6. John of Dreams 7. Cradle Song 8. Suo Gen 9. Shoheen Shoho 10. Gartan Mother`s Lullaby 11. Dream Angus 12. Flowers in the Meadow Musicians: Linda Miller- vocals Frank Cassidy- whistle Nathan Curry- guitar, cittern, bodhran, finger cymbals, mandolin, vocals John Geggie- upright bass Duncan Gillis- whistle Don Kavanagh- whistling Tadhg O Muiris- celtic harp Debbie Quigley- uillean pipes, harmony whistle Ian Robb- concertina James Stephens- violin, viola, harmonium, mandolin, harmony vocals
Copyright © 1997 Wil Macaulay